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6 parkside 2

the thirties semi
seems stranded somehow
at the dead end
of the dead end street,
frozen in an over-exposed
polaroid, for ever
a bleached-out
black and white
in the unforgotten past.

he double-glazed
against exposure,
central-heated
against winter,
laid carpet wall to wall,
incrementally, year on year,
on the chill bare boards.

she still never forgave
the babies blue with cold,
comfortless in their cots,
the tyranny that ran, like
a fault-line in the walls,
undetectable from the outside

but for the stunned timidity
of the children, standing silently
in the corners of the neighbours’ memories,
only their eyes eloquent,
faintly distressed,
and the wife they realise
they no longer see.

even with mod cons,
the sad house remained
a collection of negatives
feeding on fear yet
drawing the girls like a vacuum.

wherever they went,
school, college, work,
the other continents,
they boomeranged back,
subtly dwindling
on each return,
victims to some
faulty reflex in their genes.

Photo of semi and front of Fiat 2300 estate by Chantal